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Thread: TableTop War Games

  1. #1

    TableTop War Games

    2017 has been an eventful year so far.....new career path, new family on the way, big other family events, wrapping up my grad school....and so on.

    One of the more fun changes is a smaller one. Over the winter break I got to play some old games from franchises I'd forgotten about. That reminded me that I had a few boxes of old figures sitting in my closet.

    I decided to strip one of them and repaint it:



    What you're looking at is an Atlas from the old Battletech/Mechwarrior series.

    I decided to add my favorite mech from Mechwarrior Online to the collection. My first attempt was a disaster so I had to relearn from scratch so I could paint at a level better than a 12 year old:



    During the process of getting the supplies I need I found out that a local group meets for Battletech at one of the games hops. That led to me redoing the rest of my collection with few new additions:

    What you're looking at here is a selection of Inner Sphere mechs painted in House Marik (basically space EU) colors with some Steiner colored mechs on the right. It's not quite fully in-frame on the right, but there's a blue/copper crab that is my personal favorite: the top of it is dry-brushed to give it a smooth color shading with a good wash that darkened the cracks and makes the texture pop. It's packed now but I'll have more pictures after tonight.



    Eventually I started looking for other miniature games that might be good to get into as the population of Battletech is both small and graying. I tried X-wing miniatures and have enough for some fun friends/family games but it's missing something without the craft aspect.

    I eventually settled into this game:

    If you haven't seen it before, it's a game called Warmachine that also has a cross-compatible ruleset called Hordes. It's a turn based, 2-player skirmish sized miniature game where the defining mechanics revolve around the large "warjack" units and "warcasters" that control the warjacks to include allocating their "focus" to use abilities and boost warjack's power (in practice by using their mana-equivalent to add extra dice to attack and damage rolls). Similar mechanics are used for Hordes players with the major difference being that their leader pulls another resource called "rage" that is generated by warbeast units. There's some rudimentary similarities to Warhammer but a number of factors stand out: it's focused for smaller armies, each model handles its rolls independently (although "grunts" receive orders as part of unit), it's more designed for competitive play, and it has a unique mechanic where killing the other player's warcaster (or warlock of they have a Hordes faction).

    Basically, games play like a cross between Chess and Warhammer....except this is much cheaper to get into than Warhammer because of smaller Armies and all special rules being on cards that come with the units when you buy them.

    My army in this game is a faction called the "Protectorate of Menoth". Basically they're a fantasy version of Crusader knights except far more fanatical, and their playstyle is focused on strategically using defensive buffs to deny the other player full use of their army's strengths and offensive buffs to crack tough defenses. What you're seeing in that picture is my first win where I was able to successfully get a nasty agility unit (can't be targeted at range, can vault over friendly models, and has a double melee attack) at the Khador (Fantasy Russia) player's warcaster and end the game with an assassination run.



    Of course not every game goes so well


    That match was a wipe against me: I hadn't brought enough ranged capability, and as a result my force was extremely vulnerable to his team's knockdown abilities that allowed my force to receive a devastating charge attack.




    Has anyone else on here gotten into this kind of thing?

  2. #2
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    It's something I've always wanted to get into, but could never find anyone else to play with.

    If I did it, it'd mostly be about me collecting the figurines, forever teasing me with the fun I could be having.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Renzatic View Post
    It's something I've always wanted to get into, but could never find anyone else to play with.

    If I did it, it'd mostly be about me collecting the figurines, forever teasing me with the fun I could be having.
    Usual way is to show up at your friendly local game store and ask the staff if there's any groups that play. You can find a group for most popular games that way.

  4. #4
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    If there were one thing I'd really love to do, it'd be make the battlefields for those tabletop games.

    I once did a security system for a big comic shop, and they had this HUGE center table for some game called Necromunda. It was, by and far, the coolest thing ever. I'd love to do that, though I bet it costs a mint to get into.

  5. #5
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Idiocy will never die
    I used to play Warhammer 40K and Warhammer Fantasy. This was 20 years ago. I had Nurgle armies.

    The only tabletop wargame I play these days is the occasional Risk.

    But the game I love the most is Shogun.

  6. #6
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    I too used to play Warhammer Fantasy, 40k and Space Marine. Oh and Hero Quest, though that's more a board game. Stopped when it all started to get very expensive + ran out space to put them all.

    For 40k - I went Chaos. If I'd stuck with it, I'd have collected a Tyranid army eventually. Loved their back stories, and just the whole concept of them as a whole really.
    For Fantasy - Skaven and Undead

    Stopped playing around the late 90s somewhere. Would love to play either the tabletop versions of D&D or Shadowrun someday, or both.

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2006
    Location: Washington DC
    Quote Originally Posted by Renzatic View Post
    I once did a security system for a big comic shop, and they had this HUGE center table for some game called Necromunda. It was, by and far, the coolest thing ever. I'd love to do that, though I bet it costs a mint to get into.
    Necromunda is a pretty cool game. The game itself is actually fairly cheap, but an elaborate board like you said can get expensive.

    I was really big on miniatures wargaming in high school and college. At various times I played Warhammer Fantasy, Warhammer 40k, Battlefleet Gothic, Warmachine, Starship Troopers, AT-43, Dust, and OGRE. I spent a lot of time meticulously painting figures and it was a decent hobby when I had a lot of free time, but gradually I came to realize that I'm more interested in the gaming than the spending hundreds of dollars and dozens of hours on collecting and painting, so I've largely switched to traditional hex-and-counter wargames. Over the past few years I've gotten into writing my own wargames and it's been an interesting experience.

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2004
    Aww I always wanted to get into it but never had any friends that played. Only played it once at a random meetup. Now that you mention it, I should stop by my local game store and ask if they got events I could join without any figurines of my own...

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Even in my circles back in the 90s I only had one friend that played it. But that was enough to enable battling.

  10. #10
    BANNED
    Registered: Jun 2017
    Location: London
    I play with my son and his friends Seriously, I have fun, they think I am cool

  11. #11
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Only downside was how long the matches would go for. You'd do 18 holes of golf in less time.

  12. #12
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    You know, talking about this gives me an idea...

  13. #13
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    One thing I like doing is playing fan made maps for Axis & Allies. It's on a game engine called TripleA, but in theory you could print your own board and play on it (which I want to actually do someday). My favorite ones are the Napoleonic Wars and WWI, but I also like the Punic Wars, Game of Thrones, Middle Earth, the US Civil War, Arab-Israeli wars, and Sengoku Japan.

    I made one on Cold War Asia (Chinese Rev, Korean, & Vietnam wars cir. 1949 linked), and WIPs on the Russia Civil War and ISIS Crisis in Iraq & Syria. The best maps have multiple opponents in two or more alliances (or free for all) that have to prioritize or coordinate. Lately I think I'm as engaged in just making the maps & balancing the gameplay as playing them. It's also a good way to learn the history of the conflicts & get a kind of inside view of them, which any well designed war game does (so "fun" isn't always the right word, although they can also be fun just in terms of pure gameplay and if it's a fantasy or very old conflict that's completely detached from modern politics, but there's also a feeling of accomplishment or deep respect about getting a better understanding of history, even painful history of more recent conflicts). The Axis & Allies model is also such a great gameplay model that I'm happy to see it opened up to different maps.

    There were some other war games I liked but I can't remember their names. The one WWII battle level one where you lay down one of the dozens of premade maps, take actions by cards, then roll a dice for them, and you ultimately have to occupy like three target spaces on your opponant's side of the map.

    And speaking of cards, I love this WWII dogfighting card game where the cards are arieal maneuvers. You basically lay the move card in front of your plane widget (a little plane on a thin retractable antennae on a square platform) & move your plane platform to the new marked place on the card, and you can ascend or descend & lose or gain speed. Then you can take a shot if another plane is inside a certain arc in front of your platform & roll a dice to see if you hit (the more centered & directionally-aligned your opponent is the better chance of a hit). It plays super fast; it just looks very cool to see these war planes swooping around in mid-action above the table; and has the feel of a tight and tense dogfight.
    Last edited by demagogue; 15th Jun 2017 at 07:47.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by demagogue View Post
    And speaking of cards, I love this WWII dogfighting card game where the cards are arieal maneuvers. You basically lay the move card in front of your plane widget (a little plane on a thin retractable antennae on a square platform) & move your plane platform to the new marked place on the card, and you can ascend or descend & lose or gain speed. Then you can take a shot if another plane is inside a certain arc in front of your platform & roll a dice to see if you hit (the more centered & directionally-aligned your opponent is the better chance of a hit). It plays super fast; it just looks very cool to see these war planes swooping around in mid-action above the table; and has the feel of a tight and tense dogfight.
    Wings of Glory, right?

    I've got something related to that....made by the same company and largely the same gameplay but with a different theme:



    I don't really play it much because the miniatures are a bit expensive without providing me any hobby aspect (they're pre-painted) and time....Warmachine has a steep learning curve and a more robust competitive scene. However, X-wing is absolutely great for friends/family because the gameplay is intuitive, fast, and easy to pick up.


    I've also found a group nearby for Battletech. It's a bunch of old guys but a fun group:





    While Battletech is usually played on a hex-based mapsheet, these guys play on an open table using 3D terrain. It changes the game quite a bit because it favors durable mechs and long-range weapons.

    I've also made some hobby progress:



    Two Warmachine solos (named units with individual rules, as opposed to "units" which are a group of grunts that move as a unit). These two are the "Piper of Ord" and "Gorman de Wulfe: Rogue Alchemist" (a bomb-throwing debuff unit):

    Here are two other themed units, again from my religious fanatic army:



    The one on the left is one of the game's original WarCasters (the "king" piece that controls your warjacks and wins the game if you kill him). On the right is the "errant Seneshal"....which is an oddball miniature in that it's technically a solo but it also auto-buffs nearby knights by making them harder to damage while in melee combat.



    It's an "Argus". I don't actually play the faction yet, I just got a starter kit for almost nothing from a guy who was getting rid of his stuff. I may pick it up at some point because they're basically if Greenpeace organized into a Druid army: they're a glass cannon, high mobility melee faction that can move through terrain without a penalty (consistent with the woods/druid theme) and uses "shifting stones" to quickly reposition their units around the board. Their units are a mix of "Werewolf", "Druid" and "Stonehenge" look with a lot of their larger units looking like Stonehenge morphed into a transformer.





    Near-complete character warjack (gains bonuses if brought with a specific warcaster) called "Eye of Truth". There's a few gems that need finishing, a few highlights, and the shoulder pads need to be painted with a Copper metal second layer (to contrast with the regular Gold). It's a nasty unit on the table because it has a high armor, can ignore damage from one attack per round, and has some extremely hard hitting attacks....but it takes a lot of your Army points up.




    Current work in progress. It's what it looks like except there's going to be a priest-guy in a worshipful pose on the front stand.

  15. #15
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2007
    Location: Sevastapol Station
    Quote Originally Posted by icemann View Post
    Oh and Hero Quest, though that's more a board game.
    Albeit one which was licensed by Milton Bradley to use Fantasy Warhammer designs and a vaguely linked backstory. My copy of Hero Quest was pilfered and all but destroyed about 15 years ago. I've been working on rebuilding with with a combination of scans from the internet, cereal box cardboard, and 3d printing.

    I always loved Blood Bowl. I would get into 40K if I had the money, it is worse than ridiculously expensive. I don't know how anybody could get into it. A decent army for a large tabletop campaign will cost you $500 and that's before you buy the paint and spend all the time assembling them.

    Lately I've been playing the more complex boardgames like Space Hulk (also a 40K license) and Descent. Descent is really cool.

  16. #16
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    I still have the majority of pieces for Hero Quest + the 3 expansions we got over here in Aus. The main box is falling apart, and most of the minatures are painted, but it's all there mostly.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Volitions Advocate View Post
    Albeit one which was licensed by Milton Bradley to use Fantasy Warhammer designs and a vaguely linked backstory. My copy of Hero Quest was pilfered and all but destroyed about 15 years ago. I've been working on rebuilding with with a combination of scans from the internet, cereal box cardboard, and 3d printing.

    I always loved Blood Bowl. I would get into 40K if I had the money, it is worse than ridiculously expensive. I don't know how anybody could get into it. A decent army for a large tabletop campaign will cost you $500 and that's before you buy the paint and spend all the time assembling them.

    Lately I've been playing the more complex boardgames like Space Hulk (also a 40K license) and Descent. Descent is really cool.
    That's pretty much anything Games Workshop. They make nice figures but they have a bad reputation in the industry for being expensive and borderline abusive of their customers, although the latter part may be changing now that the old CEO was ousted.

    If you want a cheaper one to get into look at Warmachine but be advised it's a learning CLIFF....it'll take months to start winning games). They have some of the best starter sets in the business. There's a two-player box with small armies for two factions(http://privateerpress.com/warmachine...yer-battle-box), as well as a matching box for "Hordes" if you prefer monsters over robots. Alternatively you can buy a battle box for about $30 in most game stores, and there are larger "All in one Army Box" products that come with an almost tournament-ready selection of miniatures and can be had for about $80 if you're not paying MSRP. It's also easier to get into the painting because they sell faction-specific paint bundles that I highly recommend. Their P3 line of paints is easily better than the competing Citadel and Vallejo lines.


    Another one I'd like to play at some point that comes with a game-ready starter box: https://www.hawkwargames.com/product...er-starter-set

    I tried a demo of it at one event and was impressed: it uses a somewhat more intuitive and fair system where players alternate moving one squad at a time, and is a relatively fast paced game.....plus the design of the minis is the best I've seen to date.

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